Press Releases

10 15 DENR XI Divers Samal 1With the aim to gather video footages of the underwater environment in Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS) specifically from Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort (PIBR) to Costa Marina Beach Resort, divers from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-XI (DENR-XI) led by Regional Executive Director Bagani Fidel A. Evasco together with the Philippine Commission for Sports Scuba Diving Commissioner Fred Medina and representatives from Carabao Dive Center, Paradise Island Beach Resort and the Batacan, Montejo and Vicencio Law Firm conducted a diving activity and underwater video documentation of marine environment last October 12, 2022.

The diving team which was led by Marine Biologist Dr. John Michael Lacson of PIBR, covered approximately 690 meter-stretch of Pier 1 (jetty port of PIBR), Stations 1, 2 and 3 down to the southern area of Costa Marina Beach Resort.
This vital pursuit was also witnessed by representatives from Ecoteneo and the Local Government Units of IGACOS.

๐—ฆ๐˜๐—ฎ๐˜๐˜‚๐˜€ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฎโ€™๐˜€ ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐˜€๐˜†๐˜€๐˜๐—ฒ๐—บ
Pier 1 to Station 1 is an area situated in front of the PIBR. From 5 to 25 feet, hard coral families were observed in the area such as Branching Acropora, other massive corals such as the brain corals, helmet corals and the turbine coral. Also observed were giant clam species and large numbers of Damselfishes, Cardinalfish, Porcupinefish and Wrasse.
Seagrass species were also observed from 5 feet to 30 feet such as the ๐˜๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ข ๐˜ฐ๐˜ท๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ด, ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ข ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ช and ๐˜Œ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ถ๐˜ด ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด.
However, an increase of large soft corals like ๐˜š๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฉ๐˜บ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ด๐˜ฑ, ๐˜“๐˜ฐ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฉ๐˜บ๐˜ต๐˜ถ๐˜ฎ ๐˜ด๐˜ฑ and ๐˜š๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ถ๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ข ๐˜ด๐˜ฑ. can already be observed between Station 1 to Station 2. These soft corals were seen attached to dead hard corals and other dead hard corals with algae.

According to the Coral Reef Alliance (n.d.), soft corals are soft and bendable and often resemble plants. They do not have stony skeletons and are non-reef-building corals.

Declining water quality is one of the main reasons of coral reef degradation and shifts in benthic community composition to higher soft coral abundances have been reported for many degraded reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific (Baum G, 2016)
On the other hand, hard coral colonies such as massive helmet corals (๐˜—๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ด ๐˜ด๐˜ฑ๐˜ฑ.), eye corals (๐˜๐˜ข๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ข ๐˜ด๐˜ฑ๐˜ฑ), branching cabbage corals (๐˜—๐˜ฐ๐˜ค๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ข ๐˜ด๐˜ฑ๐˜ฑ) and the blue coral (๐˜๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ข ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ถ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข) were also observed scattered thinly in the area. Large mounds of dead corals were also recorded within the 15-20 feet depth of Station 1 and 2 and the sediment in this area is sandy-coral rubble substrate.
Soft corals dominated the area between Station 2 and Station 3, having dead hard corals as their foundation. Rubble substrate, which is made up of pieces of dead corals, is also substantially wide.

Also, seagrass species like ๐˜Š๐˜บ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฐ๐˜ค๐˜ฆ๐˜ข ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ข, ๐˜๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ข ๐˜ฐ๐˜ท๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด, ๐˜Œ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ถ๐˜ด ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด and ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ข ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ช were observed in the shallow depth of the area. At 10 feet below, there is a table coral (๐˜ˆ๐˜ค๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ข ๐˜ด๐˜ฑ.) observed and brown algae of the Sargassum family.
In Station 3, which is in front of Costa Marina Beach Resort, seagrass species such as ๐˜Š๐˜บ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฐ๐˜ค๐˜ฆ๐˜ข ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ข, ๐˜๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ข ๐˜ฐ๐˜ท๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด, ๐˜Œ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ถ๐˜ด ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด and ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ข ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ช were observed within the shallow depth. But going south of the said beach resort, the area was observed to be dominated with soft corals lying on top of dead corals in a substantially-wide rubble area.

๐—ข๐—ฏ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜ƒ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€ ๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—ฃ๐—ผ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜๐˜€ ๐Ÿด๐Ÿด ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐Ÿด๐Ÿต

10 15 DENR XI Divers Samal 2As the diving team descended to 50 feet at Points 88 (7ยฐ 5' 59.138" N 125ยฐ 39' 45.726" E) and 89 (7ยฐ 5' 58.533" N 125ยฐ 39' 48.946" E), a flat terrain of rubble substrate was observed. Even with a strong underwater current, the team was able to document thin patches of hard corals and soft corals with presence of rubble substrate and algae within the 30-35 feet.
Basing on the Annexes of the Department of Public Works and Highwaysโ€™ Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility for Samal Island-Davao City Connector (SIDC) Project, points 88 and 89 are the points where the proposed column for the bridge will be constructed.

The team scanned the northeast side of point 88 at the depth of 15-20 feet and they observed patches of live corals, soft corals, coral rubble substrate, sand, silt and algae in the area. They have also observed big dead corals that were covered with algae and fishes mostly โ€œpataโ€.

Approaching the depth between 10-15 feet, the team already observed patches of seagrasses and soft corals community, presence of fish pot, live hard corals and big dead corals with algae, rubbles substrate mixing with sand and algae.

At the surface of Point 89, the team observed that the bottom, around 5-8 feet, is a mixture of rubbles and algae. Also observable in the area are the seagrass community, live corals, soft corals, fishes and dead corals covered with algae.

At the depth of 3 feet at Point 89, there is a presence of seagrass community, patches of live hard corals, patches of soft corals and mix of sand and rubble substrate.

๐—š๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—ผ๐—ฏ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜ƒ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป

Judging from the underwater topography, dense soft corals, strong underwater current and high nutrient load due to the presence of drifting mucus-like particles allegedly algae colonies, it appears that the stretch from Station 1 up to Costa Marina is exposed usually to strong underwater currents.

Divers from the DENR-XI has also experienced the same strong current on the said area on January 27 and October 8, 2021.

Pier 1, however, is sheltered from this underwater current due to the canal formation which was observed leaning away and is manifested by the growing Branching coral Acropora and thin encrusting ๐˜”๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฑ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ข ๐˜ด๐˜ฑ. These said coral species morphology has high tendency to break under strong underwater current energy.

Observed further from Station 1 to Costa Marina jetty were large mounds of dead massive forming Porites spp. It can be hypothesized that this underwater ecosystem is once filled with hard corals of species forming massive lifeforms such as but not limited to ๐˜—๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ด ๐˜ด๐˜ฑ๐˜ฑ., ๐˜Ž๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ช๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข ๐˜ด๐˜ฑ๐˜ฑ. ๐˜Œ๐˜ถ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฉ๐˜บ๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ข ๐˜ด๐˜ฑ๐˜ฑ., ๐˜—๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜จ๐˜บ๐˜ณ๐˜ข ๐˜ด๐˜ฑ๐˜ฑ among others.

These massive corals can withstand underwater current due to their massive and thick coral skeleton and dome-shape morphology. However, human interventions which caused impeding water flow and disrupting long shore sediment transport and long shore current coupled with extraction of coralline rocks used for the establishment of concrete structures and the effects of eutrophication, may somehow change the underwater community structure from hard coral formed reefs to the existing soft corals ecosystem.

Soft corals due to their morphology can also withstand strong underwater current. They also derive food from catching plankton drifting in the water column rather than depending to sunlight for photosynthesis. Plankton on the other hand derived their food from the rich organic particles or algae in the water column. Algae derived their nourishment from nutrient rich waters.

Also, the presence of invertebrates such as the filter feeding Crinoid featherstar, and detritus feeders sea urchins and chocolate chip seastars proved that the area has high organic load, nonetheless, the presence alone of soft corals is also an indicator.

Strong underwater current can be attributed to the topography of the channel which is influenced by the flow of the water during high and low tides or from the upwelling and downwelling transport in and out of Davao gulf.


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Department of Public Works and Highways Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility โ€“ Output 1 โ€“ Roads and Bridges Samal Island โ€“ Davao City Connector (SIDC) Project โ€“ Annexes 5 October 2020

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Mohanty, P.K.; Patra, S.K.; Bramha, S.; Seth, B.; Pradhan, U.; Behera, B.; MISHRA, P., and Panda, U.S.,2012. Impact of groins on beach morphology: a case study near Gopalpur Port, east coast of India. Journal of Coastal Research, 28(1), 132-142. West Palm Beach (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208

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10 3 CBFM CARP member showcases Abaca made handicrafts3Nestor Aquilino Latiban, 23, a 2nd year Criminology student and a member of Boston-Mandaya Tribal Council Association (BMTCA) in Boston, Davao Oriental showcases his skills and talent in making handicraft products using fibers of abaca.

BMTCA is one of the beneficiaries of DENRโ€™s Community-based Forest Management- Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CBFM-CARP). Abaca farming and production is one of the means that sustains the livelihood of the associationโ€™s members.

Nestor demonstrated a process in making tumbler-holders as one of his products. He also showed hand bags, backpacks, slippers, tumbler holders and accessories among others which he shared that he started doing during Covid-19 pandemic. He also makes plates and baskets made of coconut midrib sticks.

Having been a self-supporting student since his early years, his income, he said, helped him financially thrive. Nestor, moreover, extended his gratefulness to the opportunities that the government offers to the tribal communities.

CBFM-CARP is one of the major programs of DENR that aims to sustain families and upland farmers through the intervention of livelihood and introduction of agro-products.

9 21 MHRWS and its exceptional esseMt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary (MHRWS) cannot be compared to any other place, protected areas for that matter. But for several reasons, it shuts down all the others. Conservationists, researchers, even trekkers must know.

MHRWS is a haven of exceptional biodiversity that is of paramount value. Flora and Fauna species of all sizes, distinctions and characteristics are here. The tiniest ones, the oldest, the newest, even the rarest. Some sits, some hangs, some serves as a host, some as hemiparasites- all representing both the beauty and relatively complex environmental condition of said mountain.

Said range is interestingly dissected into various types of vegetation- Agro ecosystem, dipterocarp, montane, mossy pygmy and the iconic, vast pygmy forest.

Getting into the depths of MHRWS reveal different experiences- feeling small while trekking through the gigantic trees and, well, the โ€œfeelsโ€ change real quick as you walk through the stunted trees within the famous pygmy forest.

The experience sways unceasingly as you set your rugged foot into its โ€œhidden gardenโ€, โ€œtinagong dagatโ€ and its falls. On the way there, you will meet the site endemic species- those that cannot be found anywhere else in the planet. Atleast, not yet as of this writing.

You will love MHRWS based on features in different platforms. But experiencing it yourself will bring your love and amusement to a higher, incomprehensible level.

Distinct. Exceptional. Wondrous. This natural sanctum will be continuously under the strict protection of the DENR and the Protected Area Management Board with the help of the stakeholders.

Efforts will continually be of great exertion for the protection and conservation of MHWRS, being a Protected Area, an ASEAN Heritage Site and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

9 12 ADR on Wheels kickstarts in CENRO Digos CityInnovating further the delivery of service to the public, the DENR XI initiated a strategy anew bequeathing its services on amicable land conflict resolution accessibly through the first roll out of the Alternative Dispute Resolution on Wheels (ADRoW) on September 2, 2022, with DENR CENRO Digos City selected as pilot area for implementation.

The ADR is any process used to resolve a dispute or controversy other than adjudication. A mechanism adapted by the DENR XI in the community and provincial levels pursuant to Republic Act 9285 or the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 2004, Executive Order 523 Instituting the Use of ADR in the Executive Department of the Government, and DAO 2016-30 or the Guidelines in the Conduct of ADR in Land Management and Disposition, the mechanism involves a neutral third party who assists in resolving issues, fostering win-win solutions for parties involved.

CENRO Digos City is recognized to champion accomplishments in land administration and management, becoming a suitable host to treadle ADRoW for the benefit of many of the officeโ€™s communities. Ten (10) parties from across Davao del Sur were invited to one venue to endeavor the settlement of cases, assisted by eight ( 8 ) ADR Officers and DENR XI executives, including CENR Officer Ruel D. Colong, CENR Officer of Davao City and multi-awarded ADRO Juvy C. Hofileรฑa, Regional ADR Focal ADRO Mari Antoinette A. Andulana and the chief of the Legal Division, Atty. Jenika H. Elman-Iรฑigo.

CENR Officer Colong expresses his gratitude for the selection of his office to jump-start the ADRoW initiative, explaining to the participants that land conflicts in the area of responsibility of CENRO Digos are more than viable for land conflict resolution, stressing that the adoption of ADR is โ€œmore efficient and appropriate for our clientele, hoping not only to declog cases in court dockets, but mend broken relationships, among others.โ€

The ADRoW shall be undertaken in a series of hearings during the month of September and shall be cascaded accordingly to other areas in Region XI as well.

9 12 DENR RXI scans initiatives and environmental compliance of HEDCOR SibulanOn Monday, September 6, 2022, the DENR XI led by Regional Executive Director Bagani Fidel A. Evasco conducted a site visit and inspection tour at Hedcor Sibulan Inc., hydrothermal Facilities, an AboitizPower subsidiary, in Sta. Cruz, Sibulan, Davao Del Sur.

Hedcor officials pitched to the team their companyโ€™s operations in aims of providing sustainable and clean hydropower facilities to the Mindanao Power Grid. The team also scanned the Sibulan Hydro operations and the companyโ€™s environmental programs.

Tours and inspections were also done on its remote but fully automated Tudaya 1 and 2 facilities, of which, 10.24 hectares is situated within the Multiple Use Zone (MUZ) of the Mt. Apo Natural Park and is covered with a Special Use Agreement for Protected Areas (DENR RXI-MANP-SAPA-01-2021).

RED Evasco nods on the initiatives of the said company and expressed that their compliance to DENR and Protected Area Laws is worth emulating by other stakeholders and investors.

The director also reiterates that the agency remains unyielding when it comes to the enforcement of environmental laws and compliance monitoring especially within the Protected Areas.

RED Evasco was accompanied by PENR Officer of Davao Del Sur Alberto B. Bandiola, OIC PASU-MANP Archelito L. Mallari, Deputy PASU-MANP Franklyn R. Buenaflor, EMB XI Imbedded Officers, and a few other DENR RXI officers.